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Israeli police detain 250 Palestinians working illegally in Israel

March 11, 2016 4:48 P.M. (Updated: March 12, 2016 1:53 P.M.)
Palestinians reportedly working illegally in Israel detained by Israeli police on March 10, 2016. (Photo Credit: Israeli police spokesperson)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained at least 250 Palestinian workers without work permits inside Israel by the end of the day Thursday, Israeli police said.

Israeli forces also raided 341 shops and work sites and administratively closed businesses that employ undocumented workers, police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said.

A total of 30 Israelis were also detained for assisting undocumented Palestinian workers, including driving the workers or providing employment and accommodation.

Israeli forces pledged to continue the search campaign for Palestinians working illegally in Israel “in order to maintain public safety in the country,” al-Samri said.

The detention campaign followed a deadly attack in the coastal city of Jaffa on Tuesday carried out by a Palestinian reportedly living and working in Israel illegally.

The Palestinian, identified as Bashar Masalha, 22, was a resident of the occupied West Bank town of Hajja. The attack left an American tourist dead and nine others injured, and was the second attack to take place inside Israel that day.

Following Tuesday’s attacks, Israeli Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan, ordered the police with “clear and strict directions to expel anyone who is illegally in Israel,” in addition to continuing to fight "terrorism" everywhere and making those involved in "terrorism pay an expensive price without exceptions,” according to al-Samri.

In addition to cracking down on Palestinians working illegally inside Israel, Israeli forces deported the family of a Palestinian killed after shooting two Israeli officers from Jerusalem to the West Bank. Israel has in the past revoked Jerusalem residency from family members of Palestinians who carry out attacks on Israelis.

In December, Erdan proposed legislation allowing Israeli police to close a business or a construction site for 30 days if residents of the West Bank were working there illegally, also imposing a fine on employers housing undocumented workers.

Tens of thousands of Palestinian workers are forced to seek a living by working in Israel as the growth of an independent Palestinian economy has been stifled in the West Bank under the ongoing Israeli military occupation, according to Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem.
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